Preston North End 2-1 Birmingham City: Championship leaders come from behind to remain unbeaten

Milutin Osmajic strikes the ball into the net beyond John Ruddy
Milutin Osmajic scored his first goal for Preston since signing for the club on transfer deadline day

Championship leaders Preston came from behind to continue their unbeaten start to the league season with victory over Birmingham at Deepdale.

Jay Stansfield struck 40 seconds after half-time to put the visitors ahead, yet Blues’ lead did not last long as Krystian Bielik headed into his own net from a corner six minutes later to level the scores.

Milutin Osmajic then scored his first goal since arriving from Spanish side Cadiz on transfer deadline day to complete the turnaround, slotting the ball between the legs of goalkeeper John Ruddy.

The win was Preston’s sixth in a row and sees them remain at the top of the table, while Birmingham were consigned to their second consecutive defeat and slip to seventh.

Preston are revelling in their best start to a season since 1903 but it was Birmingham who enjoyed the better possession during a relatively quiet first half as they mounted pressure in and around the hosts’ penalty area despite no clear shots on target.

Against the run of play, Brad Potts almost put Preston ahead with the best chance of the opening 45 minutes but he was overstretching for the ball and sent it over the bar, while Liam Millar had a shot for the hosts from distance that was comfortably saved by Ruddy.

However, it was Birmingham who struck first instantly in the second half to take the lead after Bielik won the ball in midfield and offloaded to Koji Miyoshi. He neatly nutmegged Jack Whatmough to pick out Stansfield and the 20-year-old took the ball around a defender to coolly strike past Freddie Woodman for his third goal of the season.

Only minutes later, though, Birmingham’s players had their heads in their shirts when Bielik, under no pressure and with no Preston players around him, headed an attempted clearance past his own keeper Ruddy.

Miyoshi, who has been a stand-out player for Birmingham since his arrival this summer, broke through midfield to set up Ivan Sunjic yet Woodman was alive to his drilled shot and dived low to save it and prevent Blues restoring their lead.

With the second half flowing much more from end to end, just over 10 minutes later Alan Browne picked up the ball, drove past two players and off-loaded to Osmajic who fired into the roof of the net to complete Preston’s comeback.

Duane Holmes had a chance to make it 3-1 in the final five minutes with a shot that looked to be creeping under the bar before Ruddy tipped it over, but Preston nonetheless secured a sixth win in seven league games.

Preston manager Ryan Lowe told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“Three more points, that was the main objective today. The performance in the first half was not what we liked and to concede an early goal in the second half wasn’t either but the lads went and found a way.

“It was probably a bit of a kick up the backside which we might have needed and we went and found a way.

“I always felt that we were going to be well in the game and we would find moments or opportunities to score and that’s certainly what we did.”

Birmingham boss John Eustace told BBC Radio WM:

“I thought we were excellent tonight, I was really disappointed to lose the game. Two sloppy goals, conceding just after we scored, via an own goal, is very disappointing and the second goal was disappointing too.

“They had three shots on target. I was ever so proud of the effort of the boys today to come to the top of the league and play like we did and dominate the game, with and without the ball – it was a big plus.

“We defended the box very well, conditions were tough when the ball was put in there as it’s very windy but the performance was excellent.”



Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Woodman
  • 14Storey
  • 26WhatmoughBooked at 48minsSubstituted forHughesat 52′minutes
  • 6Lindsay
  • 44Potts
  • 13McCannSubstituted forBradyat 51′minutes
  • 18LedsonSubstituted forWhitemanat 68′minutes
  • 23Millar
  • 25Holmes
  • 8Browne
  • 28OsmajicBooked at 68minsSubstituted forFrökjaer-Jensenat 77′minutes


  • 3Cunningham
  • 4Whiteman
  • 10Frökjaer-Jensen
  • 11Brady
  • 16Hughes
  • 17Stewart
  • 20Woodburn
  • 21Cornell
  • 33Best


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21Ruddy
  • 12Drameh
  • 5Sanderson
  • 26Long
  • 23Longelo
  • 34SunjicSubstituted forBacunaat 71′minutesBooked at 72mins
  • 6BielikSubstituted forGardnerat 88′minutes
  • 45BurkeSubstituted forJamesat 88′minutes
  • 11Miyoshi
  • 14AndersonSubstituted forHoganat 82′minutes
  • 28Stansfield


  • 1Etheridge
  • 4Roberts
  • 7Bacuna
  • 9Hogan
  • 19James
  • 20Gardner
  • 27Khela
  • 43Dixon
  • 44Aiwu

Dean Whitestone


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